Friday, February 12, 2016

2/12/2016 - Cowboys Mailbag - DMN

What will the mailbag bring us on this fine February 12th?  Let's open it up via email, Twitter, and Pony Express.  Here we go!
These are all questions we received Thursday from football enthusiasts just like you.
Q:  The (unlikely) scenario occurs: Bosa, Tunsil and Wentz/Goff are all available at 4. What does Jerry do? What do you do?
A:  Interesting scenario and one that I enjoy working through.  OK, so the Cowboys pick 4th, and let's say that Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and maybe LaQuon Treadwell are gone (Or, in this scenario, Paxton Lynch went to Cleveland at #2).  That leaves these options - Do we go get the Defensive End that everyone so desires to be the proper strong-side bookend for Lawrence/Gregory and has the awesome motor and skills as Joey Bosa does?  Do we grab the finest offensive tackle in the draft who is such a superb prospect you could absolutely call him the top player in this draft in Tunsil?  Or, do they go get their choice of Wentz or Goff which currently I lean in the direction of Mr Goff if I am faced with that option.
Well, in the what would Jerry do, I guess I believe if those options are open, at the moment of truth I assume he will continue in his "wildcatter" ways and double down on Tony Romo and the effort to try to end things in a fairy tale fashion with this group of guys.  To me, that would likely mean grabbing Bosa and knowing that they tried to fix their defense as much as possible and give them a Day 1 starter that further strengthens the defensive front that just wasn't good enough.  I assume he would continue to throw caution to the wind or grab a QB in the 3rd round and try to convince himself that everything is fine there and let it ride.  
What would I do?  Let me be incredibly clear - if Jared Goff is available, I am grabbing him and not thinking twice.  To me, I like all 3 QBs at the top, but I think Goff is the most natural in terms of seeing the game at a higher level and then knowing what to do with the football.  He is also quite young and has the highest ceiling.  I know it likely doesn't help 2016 enough, but I think Goff could win you a title before it is all said and done.  Bosa and Tunsil are cornerstone players as well, and Wentz looks like the real deal, but just my preference as we sit here on Feb 12 - I would go get the California kid, Jared Goff in that spot.  I believe that this is still a QB league and I also think the Cowboys are in a critical spot at that position the next time Romo gets face planted.
Q: Is Jerry Jones more valuable to the Cowboys or the NFL?
A: This is a fine question that is particularly relevant if you have just watched the Joe Buck interview with Jerry that is now on Directv and AT&T Uverse called "Undeniable".  It shows Jerry and all of his passion for the Cowboys and their brand and the old feelings of "his heart is in the right place."
I asked the unresolvable hypothetical yesterday of the following:  Would Jerry Jones trade his franchise valuation - say they drop all the way out of the Top 5 NFL franchise values (which would never happen) - for a Super Bowl trophy.  It is essentially the question of what he values more - the Cowboys brand or the Cowboys success.  In a way, they are tied at the hip, but many teams can win a Super Bowl without ever coming close to the success and money of the Cowboys brand.  Jacksonville can win a Super Bowl in the next few years.  But, becoming a franchise with even half of the Cowboys value is impossible for them.  Does that mean more to Jerry than another trophy when he already has 3?  Most people answer it by saying if they won a Super Bowl, the value would only go higher.  Of course.  But, that isn't the hypothetical.  If he has to have one or the other, it has always been my idea that he is fine with where he is - they are worth more - according to Forbes - than any franchise in any sport on the planet.  And to him, that is the ultimate accomplishment or the ultimate Super Bowl, if you will.  Of course, he wants both.  But, if he could choose one, I assume the business is more in his DNA.  In fact, that might be why so many football decisions have always erred on the side of media splash versus low-key football decisions.  
Now, is he more valuable to the league or the franchise?  I bet with what he has done for the NFL, history will show he made the NFL bigger with his relentless pursuit of profit.  He will be worshiped by the other owners for decades for his stands in the 1990s that turned revenues from good to absurd.  
As an owner, Jerry's legacy is in cement as a legend even if his team has just 2 wildcard round wins in 20 years.  
Q: It's easy to say the Cowboys made a mistake on DeMarcus Ware seeing how he's playing and the lack of a pass rush. But did they make the right call at the time?
A: I was certainly in the camp at the time that was against the move, but I also admit that I was willing to concede that the "current mix wasn't working" and maybe breaking up the Romo-Witten-Ratliff-Ware-Austin group that had a same old, same old feel to it.  
If you want to pull me offsides in a sports debate, the best way is to try to tell me how "washed up" Ware was in 2012 and 2013, how he wasn't a scheme fit, and most egregiously, how he never made a big play with the Cowboys.  They all make me insane.  When it is all said and done, DeMarcus Ware might be treated as the finest Cowboy of this era and even though things worked out well for him, there is no reason he couldn't have retired a Cowboy.  He was willing to take a pay cut and he was willing to take a lot less - but he was not willing to be treated like Doug Free.  
The Cowboys were intent on extending Tony Romo and trying to get their cap right.  I understand that, but letting Ware go was a choice - not a necessity.  They could have made Romo wait for his monster deal - he was never leaving Dallas.  They could have made several different choices and they proved it when they basically gave Greg Hardy "Ware money" in 2015.  But, they talked themselves into an elite pass rusher could be replaced with a scheme which is why we see irony that for the last 24 months, they have been looking for more pass rushers while Ware makes massive contributions to Denver's rush which hauls off and wins the Super Bowl.  
Crazy, right?  It always is.  

One of these is surely not enough.  Let's keep rolling with still more in our mailbag -
Q:  Players can make overtures, but there's no way DeMarco Murray is a Cowboy next season, correct?
A:  Honestly?  I am not about to say for even a moment that this is out of play if the Eagles were to make him available.  I don't see that they would because the cap hit on year 2 of his deal is such that his cap hit of $8m in 2016 would jump up to $13m if they cut him.  That would be pretty insane to do that.  So, they could try to trade him, but they are not getting anyone to take a deal with that much guaranteed money left on it.  
Now, from a Cowboys standpoint, there are definitely very key members inside the organization that never wanted to let him go and would campaign hard for his return if he was on the street.  But, the time for that would be next season - not this year.  At which point, most of us who were concerned about his odometer would believe that the best of DeMarco Murray has already been spent.
Q: Jerry Jones seems convinced Tony Romo can still be better than we've seen. That logic hasn't helped evaluating his position very well. Could the same happen at tight end or do you think Dallas is prepared for life without Witten. Not saying he's not durable, just getting up there in age has its consequences.
A:  I think this is a pretty interesting topic, really.  The Cowboys do get a lot of attention for their hope that Tony Romo lives forever, but the same is currently true with Jason Witten.  You can imagine how unpopular a big investment in Tight End would be right now, but think about it - with James Hanna a free agent and Gavin Escobar unlikely to play much in 2016, what exactly is behind Witten at tight end?  Geoff Swaim?  
Witten is amazing and on his way to Canton.  But, it is rather clear that his route tree is shrinking and his speed is slowing down.  It is normal.  He is fighting the aging process, but it still occurs a little bit each year.  I assume Witten has a few more years in him, but I do wonder if his drop-off might happen without warning and with 1,000 catches and so many huge hits, plans likely should be made soon.
So, do you spend yet another pick on his successor after they have done this in 2006, 2008, and again in 2013?  I don't think it is really high on their list of ideas, but we should remember that the top TE in the draft is Hunter Henry from Arkansas.  The Cowboys have a few ties with that school, so I suppose we should not rule it out.   And if they aren't extending Terrance Williams on a deal, we should also believe that Escobar hasn't done much to encourage them, either.  
It will be interesting to see what - if any - plans are being made to help cover themselves for the end of the road for the great #82.
Q: Based on the Cowboys' track record, how can Jerry say Dallas is the team that can help get a troubled player back on his feet? I know he's just looking for bargains to come to his door, but Randle and Hardy didn't do anything for his rehab rep.
A:  There you go.  They are just looking for bargains.  They don't see themselves as a rehab center or some sort of place that embraces the troubled because of their big hearts.  The Cowboys see themselves as an opportunity for all and yes, a bargain hunter that wants to maximize their image into talent acquisitions of those with a red-dot on their tags.  
If you are a troubled player, you just want to be embraced and the Cowboys will definitely do that and say all of the words it takes to get a deal done.  Greg Hardy shows that sometimes they bite off even more than they can chew since it looks like they have even less than no interest in bringing him back.  For once, even they have had enough of the circus that some players bring.  I know it is frustrating because it sure seems that this is something that Jason Garrett hoped to change, but Jerry is always looking for the deal and that means he will always be attracted to the cut-rates of damaged goods.  
That said, you know they aren't done in that line of thinking.  
Q: Could Brandon Weeden be back here again this summer?
A:  Hahaha.  Come on.  Seriously?  No.  
Have a fine weekend, everybody!

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